Successful Melbourne Cup Carnival shows Victoria is open for business

7 November 2021 Written by VRC

Over 30,000 racing fans have flocked to Flemington Racecourse to herald the safe return of major events to Melbourne and the reopening of Victoria to the world for the 2021 Melbourne Cup Carnival, Australia’s premier racing festival.

VRC Chairman Neil Wilson said Cup Week had been a resounding success in every respect.

“It was a week of triumphs on and off the track, with Chris Waller and James McDonald uniting to win their first Lexus Melbourne Cup with wonder mare Verry Ellegant and Damien Oliver becoming the most successful jockey in Cup Week history with 26 Group 1 wins,” Mr Wilson said.

“We welcomed over 30,000 racegoers back to Flemington, generated more than 6,000 jobs for the events and hospitality industries, and broke live streaming audience records with the Lexus Melbourne Cup.

“Importantly, we staged a safe event that confirms Victoria is open for business and helped to stimulate Victoria’s hospitality and retail industries as people everywhere came together to revel in the spirit of the Cup."

More than 1.9 million Australians watched reigning Racehorse of the Year Verry Ellegant win the Lexus Melbourne Cup, across Network 10 and 10Play, with audiences across the, Sky and TAB platforms pushed the total audience beyond 2.5 million viewers.

This year’s Carnival reached new audiences, taking a giant leap forward in the digital age, with the Lexus Melbourne Cup achieving the biggest live streaming audience for an annual Australia sporting event in history across multiple streaming platforms with 652,000 unique users.

The event also set new broadcast records internationally, highlighting the success of the multi-platform model that is proudly taking ‘the race that stops a nation’™ around the globe.

The Lexus Melbourne Cup this year broke new ground by live streaming globally in the metaverse through a new partnership with ZED Run to engage with a new younger audience, combining 161 years of Cup history with the new digital world.

“The VRC’s broadcast ecosystem is taking the Lexus Melbourne Cup to large free-to-air audiences and breaking new ground in the digital world,” Mr Wilson said.

“This year we had 332 radio stations across Australia broadcast the live call of our great race, and internationally, we had our highest ever audience watching the Cup in the United States, demonstrating our continued growth in key markets.

“We are very confident in the breadth of this distribution and our strategic approach and this is backed up by research showing that more than 10 million adult Australians engage with the Lexus Melbourne Cup and the broader Melbourne Cup Carnival each year.”

Remarking on Cup Week 2021, Minister for Tourism, Sport, Major Events and Racing, Martin Pakula said, “What a brilliant carnival, and what a way to show the nation and the world that Victoria is back, is buzzing and is open for business.”

Victorian Chamber of Commerce Industry Chief Executive Paul Guerra said the positive impact of the Carnival on retail, hospitality, transport and employment underscored the economic benefits of Cup Week for Victoria.  

“The Melbourne Cup Carnival with crowds was exactly the shot of confidence Victorians needed,” Mr Guerra said.

“In hospitality venues throughout Victoria, people came together to support local businesses with the racing as an opportunity to re-engage, with that reach continuing beyond our state to the many racecourses across Australia.

“The message to the world is unmistakable. Victoria is back in business and in just four magnificent days we have reasserted our position as the events capital of Australia.” 

In reflecting on a successful Cup Week, Mr Wilson thanked VRC members, principal partner Lexus, broadcast partner Network 10, and major partners Penfolds, Kennedy, Furphy and Myer for their ongoing support.

“The support of the Victorian Government, VRC members, and our corporate partners and sponsors has been instrumental to the successful staging of this year’s event,” Mr Wilson said.  

“After safely hosting over 30,000 racegoers this year, we cannot wait to host a full house next year.

“There is no better sight than 100,000 patrons a day on track in the sunshine at Flemington in spring. We are ready to get back to that in 2022”.